LeT real engine of terror in South Asia: India

3 December 2009
The Daily Excelsior

NEW DELHI: India today said it has conveyed to the US that groups like Lashkar-e-Toiba were the 'real engines' of terrorism in South Asia and hoped that America would be more pro-active in containing these outfits. Speaking on Prime Minister Dr Manmohan Singh’s visit to the US last week and its outcome, External Affairs Minister S M Krishna told both Houses of Parliament that the two countries have expressed commitment to expeditious realisation of full potential of the Civil Nuclear Agreement. Noting that the visit had laid foundation for further enhancing of bilateral relations across a broad spectrum of activities, he said Singh and President Barack Obama had discussed all issues, including the threat of terrorism emanating from Pakistan and Afghanistan. He said the Prime Minister was emphatic that India’s neighbourhood was infested with terror and impressed upon the US to join hands to deal with the menace. Singh told Obama that groups like LeT were 'real engines' of terrorism in the region and the US was appreciative of India’s views. 'We hope, in the days to come the US will play a more active role and join hands with India to contain terrorism,' Krishna said while giving clarifications in the Rajya Sabha after he made a suo moto statement on Singh’s visit. The issue of Mumbai attacks was a priority in Singh’s discussions with Obama and both 'underscored the absolute imperative' to bring to justice the perpetrators of the terrorist attack and the need for 'resolute and credible steps to be taken to eliminate safe havens and sanctuaries that provide shelter to terrorists,' Krishna said. Singh and Obama underlined the interest of the two countries in 'stability, development and independence of Afghanistan' and in the smashing of terrorist safe havens in Pakistan and Afghanistan, the External Affairs Minister said. He said India and the US had agreed to cooperate on counter-terrorism efforts and in this regard had signed an MoU providing for intelligence sharing and capacity building. When asked by CPI-M leader Sitaram Yechury as to whether CIA and FBI would open offices in India under the MoU, Krishna allayed his apprehension saying the Indian intelligence machinery was fully competent to handle the threat of terror. He took a dig at the CPI-M leader saying he understood his 'allergy' to CIA. On the Headley case, Krishna said the US has promised full cooperation. Meanwhile, welcoming the new Af-Pak strategy announced by the US, India today asked international community to press Pakistan to use 'all its influence and resources' to dismantle terror infrastructure and deny sanctuaries to all terrorist groups, saying it is in the interest of the world. The External Affairs Ministry underlined the need for the international community to show 'unwavering commitment to resolutely opposing, resisting and overcoming terrorism and those who nurture, sustain and give sanctuary to terrorists and extremist elements.' In a statement here, MEA spokesman Vishnu Prakash said India welcomes President Barack Obama’s 'reiteration of the need to squarely tackle terrorism, and for Pakistan to ensure that terrorists do not enjoy safe havens on its territory.' India, he said, 'believes that it is in the interest of the international community to impress upon Pakistan that it must use all its influence and resources to implement its commitments to dismantle the infrastructure of terrorism and to deny sanctuary to all terrorist groups who operate from its soil.' Referring to Obama’s announcement of new Af-Pak strategy yesterday, he said, 'We welcome the emphasis in the US strategy on the strengthening of the Government of Afghanistan and Afghan security forces.' The MEA spokesman also emphasised that it was imperative that the international community showed 'sustained and long-term commitment' to assisting the Government and people of Afghanistan. India, for its part, has attempted to help Afghanistan in its reconstruction efforts as a means to bringing about stability in that country, Prakash noted. India’s assistance, now over USD 1.3 billion, is spread across Afghanistan and spans almost the entire gamut of economic and social developmental activities. 'Despite daunting logistical and security challenges', two major Government of India-funded infrastructure projects have been completed, he said. (PTI)